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Hi all :)

Congrats :) People start of differently, I guess. Do you have any supervision meetings soon? Before that I would start reading papers in your area, make detailed notes and record them. In my first few months I did a lot of reading and writing about it before creating a detailed research proposal.

PhD Progress Presentations

Please let me add: If you get nervous, it is absolutely normal. If others notice it, they see that your work is important to you.

Submitting my thesis in a month with an 'alien' result

Hi Ariana,

I am from a completely different field, but what seems reasonable to me is to say

- why you (your supervisor) thought the piece of wood is from that period in the first place
- how you found out that it is not
- how it compares to wood from that period

An excellent PhD proposal ?

Hi Zenith,

I don't have an example, but if you like some advice, I can help you ;)

What helps me is to go out and explain my research proposal to others, especially other PhD students. This way I can improve my question (with research gap and relevance), methodology and possible answers.

All the best.

Passed! :)

Congratulations, zipidee!!! I am glad you made it. I also find your description very helpful, although my viva is still a while ahead ;)

Feeling very sad.

One thing I do not understand is what is HER problem? Maybe she feels in some way inferior to you, maybe for the reasons you have stated. The guy who got 'my' funding is not around as much as I am. It could be that he is avoiding me and although I try my best (really!) I cannot avoid comparing us and outsmarting him. I am self-funded as well and with the exception of having some mocking bird around I have had the same feelings as you.

I decided to keep my head up anyway. I see myself not as a paid employee, but as a paying customer. This view helps me to ask for help and to demand my rights. I am also doing a lot, like volunteering in committees, having presentations, teaching and all kinds of socials. It is not always easy to see myself as the one who did not get the funding, but as the one who is able to do it anyway.

I hope this helps a bit.

Is my 6-year course of studies equivalent to a master's degree? Can I start a PhD right away??

I have neither Bachelor nor Masters, but a German Diplom. I found some conflicting information, but at the end of the day I had to check with each particular University. They might have detailed requirements on their website or you just have to ask the relevant admin/admissions person.

Working with rude/problematic PhD students

Hi Tulip,

I am sorry you are in such a difficult situation. Although she is not a supervisor she is in a somewhat powerful position being the one who is informally organising socials etc.

I used to be in a similar situation at work and ended up in a vicous circle. I got very cold towards that guy, ignored him or lashed out in some way. He was probably insecure, took it very personal and continued treating me quite as you describe.

I understand things are difficult for you, especially because I guess the only effective way out is forward. Do you think you can directly talk to her about it? One interesting advice I once read is to show the person some appreciation, which she probably craves more than anything. Tell her she has done xyz very well and what you really admire, in front of her and in front of others, even when she is not present. It might be an interesting experiment - as long as the things you say are somewhat genuine.

Feel hugged :)

Academic reference frustrations

Hi wowzers,

I have been in similar situations a few times. I hate to depend on people in this way. Sometimes they are just lazy or unorganised. Sometimes you can ask a personal assistant to take care of the organisation of the reference, if the professor has one. Once I really needed a reference and I called the potential referee. This gives an immediate response. The second step was to contact another potential referee. I mentioned the problem with the professor I had asked and suddenly I found his reference in my mailbox.

Good luck with your applications :)

Beating PhD loneliness

What helps me a lot is to volunteer, for example in one of those University societies. The "work" I am doing is fun and I am around people after a long PhD day.

I hope things are getting better for you :)

suggestions for reading/note taking

I heard about a similar method before. Using Excel tables seems to be quite common. I am writing two paragraphs in Endnote - one is a little summary including question, method and result, the other is a personal assessment of the article and its relevance. I then copy these writings into one or two Word documents, which then, with some editing work and extra writing, become subject overviews.

I am just a few months into my PhD, so I will see how this method works ;)

Supervisor presenting my paper at conference? - Help

As I understand that he gives you the opportunity to go. Would you accept it?

PhD interview

I was asked WHY I want to do a PhD and then we talked about my research proposal. The interviewers wanted to know exactly how I want to answer my research question, how exactly I want to measure the data, how an answer could look like, what the limitations are, and so on.

Dealing with younger colleagues (MPhil/PhD)

Hi fatbunneh,

I can understand you from my experiences at work and I was quite scared, that similar things would happen in Uni as well. So far, things seem pretty fine here, as we are all very different people from all over the world and all ages.

I am not sure, though, if there was just a similar situation for me with a member of staff, but I guess I have to brush it off as well. It has more to do with him anyway. Plus, there is not much I can do, except approaching some people and get myself as included in activities as I want.

I hope you feel better soon!

Exhausted and demotivated...please help

Hi Cathie,

It is so normal to feel like an idiot when things get tough after years of being the 'smart one'. I had this situation in my second job and it was hell. Now in my PhD I found a balance. I guess I am comfortable with not being able to do anything to a first-class standard all the time. We are all intelligent and we all struggle here in Uni. I think you are going through something very normal, finding your human side ;)